In The News                      December 2009   Vol. 12-12

Presidentís Message

Christmas Everywhere
(Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893)

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight! 
Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine, 
Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine, 

Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white, 
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright, 
Christmas where children are hopeful and
Christmas where old men are patient and gray, 
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight, 

Broods o'er brave men in the thick of the fight; 

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all; 
No palace too great, no
cottage too small. 


 Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season!



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Avoid the tendency to find problems.  Try to find solutions. 


Learning with e-Tutor

Holiday Lesson Modules

   Christmas Around the World 
   The Festival Of Lights

   Christmas Around the World - Germany  
   Christmas Around the World - Ireland  
   Christmas Around the World - France 
   Christmas Around the World - Italy 
   Christmas Around the World - United States 
   Christmas in England 
   Merry Christmas

Middle/Jr. High School:  
   The Christmas Carol

High School:  
   A Children's Christmas in Wales  
   Holidays in America

Thirty New Lesson Modules  
were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view 
over 2,800 lesson modules.

   The Book Case            

Santa Mouse Where Are You 
by Michael Brown
Primary - but Appropriate for
All Ages

We reported about 'Santa Mouse' last year, but this delightful story is important enough for a repeat.  This book was a favorite of my children when they were young.  As they grew I continued to read to my young students.  As an art project we made little mice ornaments out of walnut shells to hang on the Christmas tree.  The book went out of print for awhile, but thankfully this charming story is back in small quantities.  Silly as it may sound, I find myself putting a special light on the Christmas tree each year for Santa Mouse.  It is a memorable story that I think you will find enchanting. My son now reads it to his daughters.

Each Christmas, Santa Mouse becomes Santa's little helper. A special light is placed up high upon the Christmas tree so that Santa Mouse can see when he's placing those very special mouse-sized presents on the limbs of the tree. Santa's ready to take off in his sleigh, and Santa Mouse scurries onto his shoulder, only to fall off into the deep, dark, snowy ground below. How will he ever find Santa and help deliver presents to the children?

A good book gives us meaning in many different ways.  I hope you will share your favorites with us.  

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Challenge authority, especially your own. 

Listen from Your Heart

Listening from your heart is completely different from listening with your ears.  Few people know how to do this, and very few parents listen to their children this way.  Listening from the heart means being genuinely interested, open, and caring.  It means being eager to hear, to learn, to be astonished...without the need to argue, interrupt the flow, or give advice (the really hard part!). Listening from the heart means not jumping in with your point of view, but rather hearing what life is like from your child's perspective.  It is listening with a sense of wonder.  When you listen from your heart, your child feels safe to tell all, for a child who is with a receptive adult, opens up and shares freely.  

A child who is upset needs sensitive listening where few words are exchanged.  Remember that saying "Oh" or "Hmmm" is sometimes enough; the fewer words from you, the better.  Don't try to coax for more information than your child wants to give.  

A child who is crying does not want to be asked questions or be given advice.  In fact, he wants you to understand without his having to explain.  Too many questions and your child feels defensive.  Some children will share more; others will want to keep it to themselves, and you need to learn to respect their way. 

Listening from your heart will heighten the sense of closeness with your child, and many times you'll discover that your gentle, quiet listening is all that's needed for your child to find his own solution. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child by Judy Ford 

Improve Your Memory

For many of us, remembering is great fun, for other it is an impediment.  Try the following to improve your memory:

  • Decide on a body of knowledge you want to remember.
  • Tell yourself a dozen reasons why you want to remember it well.
  • Imagine yourself remembering perfectly and using that knowledge.
  • Design an enjoyable and personal way to absorb information, including the best modalities, intelligences and cognitive style to use.
  • Follow your plan exactly.  Remind yourself that you're having fun.
  • Celebrate
  • Tell someone how well your learning plan is working.
  • Use what you have learned. 

Adapted from Next Step

Preparing for the Holidays - 
Save Mealtime Minutes

This time of year is stressful on a number of fronts.  Preparing meals can add to the stress.  Here are some tips which may help:

  • Use two sets of measuring cups and spoons to eliminate washing between measuring different ingredients.

  • Buy ready-to-use products like frozen green peppers and onions, chopped garlic in a jar, packaged cracker crumbs and prepared marinades.

  • Partially cook meals like chicken in the microwave, and then cut them into strips or cubes before you finish cooking them on the stove top.

  • Bake meatballs in a foil-lined pan instead of cooking them in a skillet.

  • Keep a supply of disposable plates and utensils on hand for nights when meetings or other activities overlap. 

Beverly Burmeier 

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Show children how much you love them...first with words, but more with actions  


Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

Calvin Coolidge

The Glass of Water

"Why such a long face?"  Eleanor asked Jude as she cut the dough for the holiday cookies.  

"I swear, the kids are the only ones who really enjoy this time of year," sighed her son.  "Mine can hardly sleep right now from all the excitement.  And I can hardly sleep from all the stress.  You know what I mean?"

"Not really,"  replied Eleanor.

"You mean to tell me with all of the cooking and decorating and shopping and volunteering you do during the holidays, on top of your other responsibilities, that the stress doesn't get to you?"

Eleanor wiped the dough from her hands onto her apron.  She picked up a glass of water from the counter and handed it to Jude.  "How much do you suppose this weighs?"  she asked.

"I don't know, a couple of ounces," Jude replied as he handed the glass back to his mother, who pushed it back into his hand. 

"Hold on to it for a minute,"  she said, looking at her watch.

"Mom, what are you...."

"Sssshhh.  Just hold it."  And after a full minute passed, she said,  "Now try holding on to it like that for the next hour."

"Mother, you're not making any sense.  Besides, my arm is getting tired."

"Exactly,"  Eleanor said as she gently touched the tip of his nose with her finger.  "If that glass held everything that was bothering you right now, would you really want to hold on to  it?"


Eleanor took the glass from his hand and poured most of the water down the drain.  She handed the nearly empty glass back to her son and said, "Here.  This is probably all you need to be concerned with anyway.  And even that will get heavy if you hold on to it for too long."  Jude agreed.

"So, put it down.  That glass and what's in it can wait."

Jude set the glass of water on the counter and kissed his mother on the cheek.  "Can life really be that simple?" he asked.

"It can be if you want to enjoy yourself."

Adapted from

Girl Power!

There's no shortage of statistics on kids' lack of physical activity, but this one particularly shocked us:  Only 11 percent of girls ages 5 to 8 get the recommended hour a day of physical activity, compared with 42 percent of boys, according to a study in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.  What is going on?  Part of it is that girls have less opportunity to get physical than boys, says Marj Snyder, Ph.D., chief program office of the Women's Sports Foundation in East Meadow, NY.  Decades after Title IX, there's actually still a gender gap in school gym classes...a smaller percentage of girls are enrolled.  But what's really driving the trend is that girls tend to feel less encouraged and less confident than boys, Snyder says.  As disheartening as that sounds, it actually means there is a silver lining;  There's lots you can do to give your daughter the boost she needs to set healthy habits for life.  How to get started:

Lead the way.  It doesn't matter is you weren't the star player (or even on the team).  Simply spending time with your daughter shooting hoops, kicking the ball, or trying that crazy new dance game is what counts.

Offer lots of options early.  Whether it's simply going to the pool a few times a week or joining a martial-arts class, let her try a bunch of different activities until she finds something (or two) she loves.

Catch the high school game.  "Kids tend to admire people just above them most." says Snyder.  Take your daughter to watch some of the local women's teams for instant inspiration.   

Adapted from Parenting

Page 5

Strive for perfection but settle for performance.  

Delightful December Links:

The Polar Express:  This is the author's (Chris Van Allsburg) page.  Students can flip through the pages of the book or read the story.  The site includes a Kid's Page and Teacher's resources.

Color a Christmas Tree:  There are a lot of activities on this site.  However, your child may enjoy coloring the tree or singing songs.  Not everything centers around Christmas.  There are ads on the page, which may confuse younger children.

The History or Santa Claus: The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century.  This is part of a larger site. The home page has a lot of ads.

The Traditions of Christmas:  The history of a Christmas festival dates back over 4000 years. Ancient Midwinter festivities celebrated the return of the Sun from cold and darkness. Midwinter was a turning point between the Old Year and the New Year. Fire was a symbol of hope and boughs of greenery symbolized the eternal cycle of creation.

Kwanza: Kwanzaa is a 30-year-old African-American holiday now celebrated in African communities around the world. Its roots are both modern and ancient.

Wishing you all joys of the Holiday Season!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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